Turn to the nation's most objective and informative daily environmental news resource to learn how the United States and key players around the world are responding to the environmental...
Aug. 30 — Two companies linked to the contamination of the Hoosick Falls, N.Y., water supply may be subpoenaed to testify before the State Legislature, the ranking member of the state Senate Environmental Conservation Committee said Aug. 30.
Sen. Brad Hoylman (D), speaking at a Senate hearing at Hoosick Falls High School, said he hoped representatives from Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp. and Honeywell International Inc. would voluntarily appear at a future hearing, but they could be subpoenaed.
“There are answers that we need from those companies as to what they knew and when they knew it,” Hoylman said at a joint hearing of the Senate Health and Environmental Conservation committees.
The Senate committees will hold two joint hearings with the state Assembly in Albany and on Long Island, according to Senate Health Committee Chairman Kemp Hannon (R). Dates for the hearings haven't been set.
Saint-Gobain and Honeywell have been named by the state as potential responsible parties under the state superfund law for contaminating Hoosick Falls water with the chemical perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).
While Saint-Gobain didn't testify, the company submitted a one-page statement to the committees. It said the company “remains fully committed to working closely with local, state and federal officials, with a shared focus on ensuring that the people of Hoosick Falls have drinking water that meets or exceeds current advisories set by EPA and New York, and in the investigation of the source and/or sources that is just getting underway.”
A Honeywell spokeswoman said the company hasn't been asked to appear.
“To the best of our knowledge, we did not receive a request to testify at the state Senate hearing,” Victoria Streitfeld, a spokeswoman for Honeywell, told Bloomberg BNA in an e-mail. “We remain responsive and cooperative and committed to addressing environmental conditions in the community.”
The hearing is likely to lead to new legislation, with key senators saying they wanted to prevent the situation in Hoosick Falls from happening elsewhere.
“Maybe once we get all the facts, we can provide a statewide solution so this won't happen again,” State Sen. John A. DeFrancisco (R), the deputy majority leader, told the hearing.
State Sen. Kathleen A. Marchione (R), whose district includes Hoosick Falls, said she will introduce bills to provide tax breaks to residents impacted by the PFOA contamination and to ensure they receive medical monitoring at no cost.
New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker told the hearing that actions by the Environmental Protection Agency on PFOA exacerbated the problems in Hoosick Falls and caused confusion about what level of exposure is considered safe.
Zucker and state Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos asked the EPA in an Aug. 30 letter to reimburse the state for any response costs that are not recovered from responsible parties.
“In a span of a few months, the EPA shifted their position repeatedly—changing the level from 400 parts per trillion to 100 parts per trillion in a single town, and then changing the national advisory level from 400 parts per trillion to 70 parts per trillion,” the letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said, referring to PFOA advisories.
“In addition, the EPA has had different guidance for what to do when any of those levels are actually exceeded,” the letter said. “This generated undue public anxiety and different strategies and deployments for our agencies, resulting in the state marshaling unprecedented resources in order to adapt to the constantly shifting guidance and recommendations from the EPA.”
The state's investigation of PFOA contamination has expanded to include municipal landfills in Hoosick Falls and the nearby towns of Petersburgh and Berlin. The landfills were named by the Department of Environmental Conservation Aug. 29 as potential state superfund sites because of PFOA contamination.
To contact the reporter on this story: Gerald B. Silverman in Albany, N.Y., at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at firstname.lastname@example.org
The letter from the New York commissioners to EPA is at http://src.bna.com/h9O.
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)